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First “Walk the Property” Jan 22, 2022

First “Walk of the Property"

A group of UU’s attended the first church-wide “Walk the Property” sponsored by the Sacred Space Team (SST) at 1719 E 29th Street on a recent Saturday morning, January 22, 2022. Kathy Wheeler initiated the tour attended by Mike W., Rob M., Dena I., Richard I., Pam J., Gaye W., Stephanie F., and Liz B. During our tour, Paul Hawryluk, Keys & Walsh (K&W) project manager, answered our many questions.

Paul Hawryluk and representatives of the SST are ecstatic about the superb quality of the church’s foundation! The concrete slab was poured over sixty-four 14-to-16-ft. deep belled piers. The piers will ensure stability of the foundation. The construction team was fortunate to have ideal weather during the days surrounding the slab pouring. The temperature and humidity were perfect for concrete curing. The photos, below, show some of the full-day of activity during the foundation concrete pour.

Our members during the visit noticed the beautiful blue-gray color of the concrete slab that will be ground, polished, and sealed for the finished surface. Notice the thickness of this colored concrete, which the professionals suggested using instead of a thin coat of stain, so that scratches and chips in the polished concrete would not show as white.

Paul directed our attention to the fact that the sanctuary gets wider as you move back from the stage. This is to ensure great acoustics within the sanctuary. Sanctuary construction will involve constructing an elevated acoustical sound stage that is to be built with the guidance of the acoustical engineer working with Ken Appelt & Brian Gibbs.

Paul mentioned that the steel and wood-post framing would go up soon and should go quickly. The plan is to construct the shell of the church including the roof and exterior walls to protect the interior from the elements – temperature, wind, sun, humidity and precipitation. Once the shell is completed, the remaining interior work will go more slowly.

Paul spoke about the landscape and parking area. Most of the curbs are in, and top soil previously removed from the future parking lot area has been transferred to the parking lot islands.

The team completed the approved pad (packed soil) and will soon add a gravel layer so that construction vehicles will be able to traverse the land easily and avoid creating a sloppy, muddy construction site. Only after the building is completed will asphalt be poured. This protects the asphalt from damage by heavy trucks during construction. A question came up about the front entrance of the church and “Will there be a canopy at the front entrance over the driveway?” Answer: the front entryway, not the driveway, will be partially covered with a canopy.

Our landscape architect, selected early in the design process, emphasizes the use of native plants with low water and maintenance needs. Escalating materials costs during the pandemic necessitated that we scale back our immediate landscape plans to meet the City of Bryan’s minimum landscape requirements. We will have planting areas and a sidewalk in front of the church.

The parking lot islands and other landscaping will have their own irrigation system and lighting. K&W will be working with sub-contractors according to our landscaping architectural plans. The UUCBV Property Team and the Garden gUrUs will work together to ascertain the use of native plants and other gardening concerns. Ken Appelt and John Ivy are on both the Property Team and the STT so communication between groups should be good.

An accompanying photo shows saved cedar wood from the property that the SST plans to use to make furniture for the church.

Ken Appelt has been contacting businesses/people that would be involved in processing the wood and constructing furniture. If you know someone skilled in this type of work, you may call Ken.

Our property has a significant elevation drop of 13 ft. from the front to the back. Topsoil removed from the lot for construction of the foundation, driveway, and parking lot areas, has been conveniently stored beyond the future parking area. This has created a temporary berm, where rainfall currently pools in front of it. This topsoil will be transferred back to lawn areas and to the back of the property where the permanent berm will be. This permanent berm will create a detention pond to temporarily store runoff. Pooled rainwater can then be drained at a controlled rate into a retention pond on our neighbor’s property and eventually flow into Burton Creek.

There was decreased work during December due to the Christmas and New Year holidays. Paul reported that construction is on schedule and that the project is being managed to minimize delays in delivery of materials caused by the pandemic. If significant delays are avoided, we hope for a completion sometime this summer. Material availability and delivery is the main limiting concern. K&W has already ordered doors and window frames 2-3 months in advance, which will be stored until needed. K&W doesn’t expect too many labor shortages because they have a good team of contractors with whom they work, but labor shortages are always a consideration.

Kathy W. says the next “Walk the Property” will be announced for February 2022 when it is set by our professionals. We can’t wait and hope more will join in the on-site tour!

-Kathy Wheeler, Ken Appelt, John Ivy, Pam Johnson

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Feb 12, 2022


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